Monday 16 February 2009

Murder rate soaring?

The Sunday Times carried a story this week about Scotland's murder rate soaring, saying it had gone up by 34% over the 2005 - 2006 period, according to a UN report.

If only someone had bothered to check the Parliamentary Questions they would have found one which was answered in January and makes a few things clear. The number of homicides did go up from 94 to 119 but it had been 137 the year before it dropped to 94 and it dropped again to 114 the year after the 119. In fact, Scotland's homicide numbers have bobbed about a fair bit since 1990, as low as 63 and as high as 150.

Scotland has not suddenly got more violent, with such a rarely occurring crime the population would have to be very much larger in order to make year-on-year changes significant, it would be long-term trends that should be looked at - and that looks stable (if unwelcome). It was the comment of Ricky Baker, Labour's crime spokesperson, that arrested my attention:
We doubled the maximum sentences for possession of a knife and tightened bail provisions, but this report shows we need to go further.

Actually, the figures in the Parliamentary Question would suggest that that policy was an abject failure.

Mind how you go!

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